First, let's call this as it is. The vaccine is an anti HPV (Human pappilloma virus) vaccine. Some forms of HPV have been implicated in causing cervical cancer. But not all forms of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. About 70% of cancers are felt to be linked to HPV.
In the news lately are articles about how Texas Governor Rick Perry has bypassed the normal route, through Legislature, and ordered that all girls must receive Gardasil before entering the 6Th grade.
This is causing an uproar, mainly by religious groups that are afraid this will give the "green light" to girls considering sexual activity. Personally, I think that's absurd, but sure, I can see a few kids taking it that way.
Now, this article is about parents being afraid that their children will be "encouraged" to engage in sexual relations, but I have a different problem with this.
Required STD shots worry some parentsAUSTIN, Texas - Some conservatives and parents’ rights groups worry that requiring girls to get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way they raise their children.
Texas governor orders cervical cancer vaccine for schoolgirls
By using an executive order that bypassed the Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry — himself a conservative — on Friday avoided such opposition, making Texas the first state to mandate that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the virus.
Beginning in September 2008, girls entering the sixth grade will have to receive Gardasil, Merck & Co.’s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV.
The federal government approved Gardasil in June, and a government advisory panel has recommended that all girls get the shots at 11 and 12, before they are likely to be sexually active.Yes, that's right, it's been less than a year since this was approved, so that means we have no long-term data available, except for the data from the studies done by the drug company. And yet, we want to require this for all children past the age of 11.
Merck could generate billions in sales if Gardasil — at $360 for the three-shot regimen — were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.
No serious side effects? This is what bothers me. according to RxList.com:
In the clinical studies, subjects were evaluated for new medical conditions that occurred over the course of up to 4 years of follow up. The number of subjects who received both GARDASIL and placebo and developed a new medical condition potentially indicative of a systemic immune disorder is shown in Table 10.
Summary of Subjects Who Reported an Incident Condition Potentially Indicative of Systemic Autoimmune Disorder After Enrollment in Clinical Trials of GARDASIL
Potential Autoimmune Disorder GARDASIL(N = 11,813) Placebo(N = 9701) Specific Terms 3 (0.025%) 1 (0.010%) Juvenile arthritis 1 0 Rheumatoid arthritis 2 0 Systemic lupus erythematosus 0 1 Other Terms 6 (0.051%) 2 (0.021%) Arthritis 5 2 Reactive Arthritis 1 0 N = Number of subjects enrolled
So, there really isn't a way of knowing if these children would have developed these conditions anyway, but maybe they were made more susceptible because of the vaccine? And maybe it's protective against those conditions.
If I had a child that would be affected by this ruling I would be boiling mad, and maybe even risk legal action.
I have no problem immunising against childhood diseases, although I suspect today's vaccines cause more problems than anyone is willing to admit. Vaccines against influenza, measles, mumps, etc are a good thing because these diseases can be prevented or minimised. And that means fewer will die as a result of them. However, how many children die as a result of being vaccinated? And how many more are permanently damaged? Is the cost worth the benefit?
I did, and would again, allow my children to be immunised according to the recommendations for children in Massachusetts. They didn't get flu vaccines, but they were pretty low risk for getting complications (no asthma, etc). When the chicken pox vaccine was first approved, we were given a reasonable period of time to have a voluntary immunisation. Some (most?) states still don't require it.
But here we have a vaccine that hasn't been approved for even a year, and has followup for only 4 years, and we are making it mandatory?
So....what is going on here?
The New Jersey-based drug company is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.
Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company’s three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff. His current chief of staff’s mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.
The governor also received $6,000 from Merck’s political action committee during his re-election campaign.
A top official from Merck’s vaccine division sits on Women in Government’s business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.
Merck spokeswoman Janet Skidmore would not say how much the company is spending on lobbyists or how much it has donated to Women in Government. Susan Crosby, the group’s president, also declined to specify how much the drug company gave.
Oh!!!! Money is involved! Oh my! I'm shocked!
Greedy isn't he?